Pengolodh (s.c) (pengolodh_sc) wrote,
Pengolodh (s.c)

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The First World War in colour photography

I came across two interesting sites on the Internet today, where I learned about the First World War and colour photography, and which show extensive numbers of colour photos from that conflict. Some of the photos are hand-coloured after the glassplates were developed, but many are genuine colour photographs, using a French-developed method called the autochrome process, invented 1903 (and revealed to the scientific world in 1904) by Louis and Auguste Lumière (who also patented the cinematograph). The method involved spreading a layer of millions of coloured grains of potato-starch (equal numbers of each of three colours) evenly over a varnished glass-plate (there being no film then, only glass-plate photography) and covered it with photographic emulsion. This would reign alone for around 30 years from the 1907 market-launch until chemical colour photography film was ready. The autochromes are AFAIK all taken by French photographer Jean-Baptiste Tournassoud. There is more detailed information, and a number of WW1 autochromes, here - there is much more information available about the Lumière brothers at the English-language webpages of Institute Lumière.

The Website "THE HERITAGE OF THE GREAT WAR" also has a large collection of colour images from the First World War - it is but one section of many that they have, they even have a section on Tolkien's experiences on the battlefield, relating it to the descriptions of the wastelands created by Sauron and Saruman. There is also a section dedicated to showing the true face of the First World War, as the website-owners see it - grim pictures of dead and wounded soldiers, desolate battlefields, a boy killed on the high-voltage electrical fence separating the Netherlands and occupied Beligum, and numerous others.
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